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Raising fit Kids

Reading with Your Children
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Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP posted:
One of the best New Year's resolutions a family can make is to READ MORE. Reading is important at every age and it's never too early -- or too late -- to start. Here are a few age-appropriate tips to help increase the importance of books and reading time in your children's lives.

Infants: Reading aloud is one of the most important things you can do with your baby. Studies show that infants and toddlers who are exposed to books and reading are more interested in learning later in life.

Be sure to make reading time exciting. Your baby will love your energy; how you change your tone and exaggerate your facial expressions. Make a short story part of your infant's regular bedtime routine. Hold her so that she can see the book's illustrations. During the day, let her play with books. It's even OK if she tries to eat them. Good choices for this age are board books and books with lots of textures, colors, and shapes.

Toddlers: Let your toddler choose his books, hold them himself, and turn the pages during the story. Pick sturdy books to decrease the risk of damage, and books with large fonts and pictures that he can enjoy. Run your finger under the words as you read to show your child that the print carries the story. Stop to look at pictures and ask your child to name things he sees. Talk about how the pictures relate to the story. Begin building a children's library in your home, even if it's just a corner filled with a stack of colorful kids' books. In my own home, we collect books in a small area under our stairs. And I often find my boys snuggled there, reading books on their own.

Preschoolers: Continue to use funny voices, or even animal noises. Don't be afraid to be silly! Your enthusiasm can help your child get excited about the story and about learning to read. Start teaching your preschooler letters and the sounds they make. But don't be discouraged if they don't pick it up right away. Learning to identify letters and eventually read is a process. And research shows that reading to children teaches them the importance of communication and motivates them to become readers as they get older.

Young Children: Most children learn to read in kindergarten. Nonetheless, continue reading out loud to your child even after she learns to read for herself. A child can listen and understand more difficult stories than she would if she only read on her own.
Take advantage of your reading time to discuss themes and issues raised in her books and learn what is on her mind and what happens during her day at school.

Don't forget, as a parent you are your child's best role model. So read daily, whenever possible. Keep reading alongside your children, even when they are proficient enough to read on their own. Read the newspaper, books, magazines, whatever your family prefers, as long as you show your children the value of reading at every age.

Are there any techniques you've used or stories you've found that have kept your children excited about reading? Share your experiences with the group.
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sdadkin responded:
We make reading part of our bedtime routine. We have a 2 1/2 year old and an 8 month old. Every night our oldest picks out 2-3 books and they both sit on my lap while I read them. DS1 loves books and I think his little brother is going to be just like him!

Yesterday I had to take DS1 to the doctor because of an ear infection. He cried the whole time in the waiting room. Once we got to the back to see the Dr I asked DS if he wanted me to read one of their books and he said yes. Once I started reading it calmed him right down! The book actually made him feel a little better!


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